Choosing The Right Paddles For Your Kayak

Choosing The Right Paddles For Your Kayak

If you’re new to kayaking, you may not even consider the fact that choosing the right paddle can massively influence how you operate while on the water. The key things you’re likely to think about are kayak clothing and various kayak accessories, but picking out the right paddle is vital.

Next to the kayaks themselves, ensuring that you are using a paddle that you feel comfortable with and is able to carry out the tasks you are going to undertake, is absolutely key. You will be propelling yourself via the use of a paddle during nearly every moment you find yourself afloat, and even the shortest of journeys are likely to require hundreds – if not thousands – of strokes.

There are four primary things you need to consider when you are making a paddle choice, and we are going to discuss them below. Read on, and you can be in the best possible place to choose a paddle that works for you.

The length

This is a relatively straightforward thing for you to be able to discern. Quite simply, the wider your kayak, the longer the paddle you will require. This makes sense; you need to ensure your paddle reaches the water, after all! Whether you will be operating sit on top kayaks or inflatable kayaks, getting the length of the paddle right is incredibly necessary.

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Your height also matters, especially if the vessel you are venturing out in is quite narrow. If you are tall, you will need a long paddle: if you are short, you will be able to choose a smaller one. If you are somewhere in the middle, then we would suggest going for shorter rather than longer kayak paddles, as this will generally give you greater levels of mobility.

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The Materials For Blades

If you want to travel quickly and efficiently while also ensuring you don’t waste too much energy quickly, then you need to find as light a paddle as possible. However, another consideration is how often you are going to find yourself at the helm of a kayak; if you are going to be going regularly, you might want to splash a bit more money than someone who is only going to kayak once or twice in their life.

For those who don’t want to spend a lot and are going to head out onto the water infrequently, plastic is probably best; these blades are cheap and relatively robust but can crack and degrade if they are not looked after properly. If you are taking kayaking seriously then carbon-fibre blades should be your go-to; they are incredibly light, sturdy, and will last years.

The design of the blade

Most blades are designed with an asymmetrical look, which means that one side is slightly shorter than the other. If you then kayak correctly, you will move through the water smoothly and with relative ease.

If you are all about acceleration, then go for blades that are relatively wide; these aid quick acceleration because they mean you can perform powerful strokes. Narrow blades, on the other hand, are probably better if you are going to be travelling long distances, as they are designed for people who need to preserve their energy reserves and who don’t care about breaking any speed records.

The shaft

There are two key choices here – straight, or bent shaft. Straight shafts are the traditional design and are far more common in stores and at kayak rental stores, but they tend to be quite difficult to hold for an extended period of time because they can ever so slightly bend the wrists. Bent shafts, however, are designed specifically to help your hands rest at comfortable angles and ensure you move through the water with ease.